Businessman and Chairman of Oilworld, Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, on Wednesday emerged the presidential candidate of the Alliance for New Nigeria.
Olawepo-Hashim’s election was ratified by the 593 delegates at the National Convention of the party held at Ibeto Hotel, Abuja.
His unanimous affirmation through a voice vote was made possible following the withdrawal of another presidential aspirant, Alhaji Ibrahim Eyitayo Dan-Musa.
The Chairman of the Election Committee, Comrade Isa Yinusa, who is also the Deputy National Chairman of the party, told the convention that other presidential aspirants who had earlier indicated interest in the party’s ticket did not present themselves for screening by the party.
The convention also ratified the strategic alliance between ANN and another political party, Peoples Trust, in what the leaders described as the single-minded mission to rescue Nigeria.
Prior to the ratification of the candidature of Olawepo-Hashim, the convention had approved the expulsion of the suspended National Chairman of the party, Pastor Emmanuel Dania, as well as the Deputy National Secretary, Osita Okonkwo, for alleged anti-party activities.
After Dania’s expulsion, the convention approved the reappointment of the pioneer National Chairman of the ANN, Dr. Jay Osi-Samuels, as the new National Chairman.
Osi-Samuels had at the last convention of the party in Abuja in July stepped aside from the post to take up a position in the Board of Trustees.
Olawepo-Hashim, who was elated at the decision by the delegates to elect him unopposed, said on the occasion witnessed by officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission that he was more than ever committed to the mission to rescue Nigeria from the stranglehold of underdevelopment and economic backwardness.
He said he would vigorously pursue the mandate given to him by the party, promising to deploy it to unite Nigeria, create jobs and put a smile on the faces of Nigerians.
According to him: “Our people are tired of poverty; they want jobs, training for unskilled youths, support for farmers as well as the young and the old.”
Declaring that “there is no time for small boys’ politics on the way to the Promised Land”, Olawepo-Hashim said: “There are political generals in this party and we will not surrender to political boys’ scouts and girl guides.”
He further said that having come this far, the political movement for which he had provided leadership was unstoppable.
“This is not the time for rhetoric. Nigerians want to see politics with integrity. This is not the time for apprentice leadership. The 2019 train must be decisive for change in Nigeria,” he stated.
He listed his offerings to Nigeria to include building a new economy that will take the nation from $510 billion Gross Domestic Product, GDP, to $4 trillion GDP in the next 10 years.
He added: “It is that size of the economy that will deal with hunger and malnutrition in the land. We want to build a big economy that will cater to 180 million Nigerians.”
He added that a government if ANN would also create jobs by linking agriculture and solid minerals to industry while, according to him, a concerted effort would be made to unite the country by ensuring freedom by Nigerians to practise their religions without fear of attacks.